Ever since I graduated art school 5 years ago I have noticed a big difference on what it’s like to be an artist today than to what it was to be an artist back then. I obviously face new challenges but at the same time I no longer put up with the same nonsense I did back then. In this blog I am going to list the pros and cons for each one:
Pro: no more getting ordered around by professors. I no longer have to worry about professors sneaking up from behind me while I’m working and say like “Nick what are you doing?” it made me want to respond like “I’m painting that’s what I’m doing.” I understand that they were trying to help and give me feedback in my work but it’s just one of those situations where you think you know what you’re doing but you don’t. Unless I’m having trouble mastering a certain technique and I choose to take a course somewhere I no longer put up with that anymore. I only face that in critiques which is not a problem for me due to what I mentioned in a previous blog several months ago.
Con: If you don’t have studio space and you work from home then it does get isolating. When we’re in art school we’re engaged in a community of artists and other creative people. It’s all part of the package. But as an artist in the real world it’s our responsibility to get ourselves out there and find that social network of creative people we connect with and it can be very tough.
Pro: No harsh critiques. Well actually I still put up with them but one good thing art school did for me was toughen me up towards them. Critiques are very important if you want to grow as an artist but if it’s something you are desperate to pursue then you will grow that thick skin you need.
Con: Financial stress. After you finish art school you’re faced with the problem of how you’re going to support yourself. If you have a day job and experiencing a financial crisis, then focus on that and put the art aside until you get yourself more financially stable again. And even if you get it fixed it can be tough to make time to get work produced, especially if you’re working fulltime. The trick is to feel more like an artist and less like whatever it is you do to support yourself.
Pro: It’s more intentional. When we’re in art school the pressure we feel is that were painting because we have to and not because we want to. But once we graduate it’s up to us if we want to continue with it or not. I always tell everyone do something because you want to and not because you have to.
Con: Taking on the business aspect of art. This is one of the main things we are not taught in art school and a common reason why artists get too discouraged to pursue it. It’s also the main reason I started this blog. There is no such thing as an artist who gets to do nothing but paint, we have to also worry about marketing our work, curating our shows, maintain public relations, etc. It’s not all about spending time in the studio.
I have made both experiences look 50/50. Obviously life is not perfect but if you can approach the glass being half full then you’re doing great.